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      Rocky pine forests in the High Coast Region in Sweden: structure, dynamics and history

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Almost all forests in Sweden are managed and only a small fraction are considered natural. One exception is low productive forests where, due to their limited economical value, natural dynamics still dominate. One example is the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests occurring on rocky and nutrient-poor hilltops. Although these forests represent a regionally common forest type with a high degree of naturalness, their dynamics, structure and history are poorly known. We investigated the structure, human impact and fire history in eight rocky pine forests in the High Coast Area in eastern Sweden, initially identified as good representatives of this forest type. This was done by sampling and measuring tree sizes, -ages, fire-scarred trees, as well as dead wood volumes and quality along three transects at each site. The structure was diverse with a sparse layer of trees (basal area 9 m2 and 640 trees larger than 10 cm ha-1) in various sizes and ages; 13 trees ha-1 were more than 300 years old. Dead wood (DW), snags and logs in all stages of decay, was present and although the actual DW (pine) volume (4.4 m3 ha-1) and number of units (53 ha-1) was low, the DW share of total wood volume was 18% on average. Dead wood can be present for several centuries after death; we found examples of both snags and logs that had been dead more than 300 years. Frequent fires have occurred, with an average cycle of 40 years between fires. Most fires occurred between 1500-1900 and many of them (13) during the 1600s. However, fires were probably small since most fire years were only represented at one site and often only in one or a few samples. The rocky pine forests in the High Coast Area are representative of undisturbed forests with low human impact, exhibiting old-growth characteristics and are valuable habitats for organisms connected to sun-exposed DW. Management of protected rocky pine forests may well include small-scale restoration fires and the limited DW volumes should be protected.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Hydraulic Limits to Tree Height and Tree Growth

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            Influence of Forest Fires on the North Swedish Boreal Forest

             O Zackrisson (1977)
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              NUMBERS AND SIZES OF FIRES: LONG-TERM SPATIALLY EXPLICIT FIRE HISTORY IN A SWEDISH BOREAL LANDSCAPE

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                March 27 2020
                March 27 2020
                : 38
                : 101-130
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.38.34870
                © 2020

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